Live Coverage || The Rumjacks @ Gagarin 205, Athens (17/3/2024)

  Saint Patrick's day rolled in once again and, this year, it coincided with the Greek carnival. As if we weren't already in a celebratory mode, Sunday March 17th also saw the return of The Rumjacks to Athens. The celtic punk outfit knows how to party like no other, and they proved it as soon as they stepped on stage.

The floor was packed with fans holding beers, wearing Guinness hats and shamrock headbands when the first notes of "A Fistful O' Roses" resounded. The unusual, albeit fitting, choice of an opener got people off their feet, singing along, was followed by "Bounding Main" and "Sainted Millions" (also unusually high in the setlist). The group has recently added a new member, accordion player Kyle Goyette, enriching the sound with some elements we can hear in the recordings and which add another layer of dimension in the music. The entire band looked very happy to be back in Greece and I'm fairly certain the setlist was designed to reflect that joy. The range included mainly newer songs, from "Hestia" onwards, but the band managed to blend them seamlessly with the older material. The sound was great from the beginning, allowing all the instruments to shine. Maybe sometimes where I was standing the tin whistle was a little buried under the volume of the rhythm section but overall it was quite impressive for this venue. The restless band's energy was flowing into the room, and the fans reciprocated. 

The crowd was pumped as we transitioned from "Bullhead" to "Through These Iron Sights", but truly went nuts when singer Mike Rivkees invited them to "smash them bottles on the ground", screaming the chant at the top of their lungs.  The acoustic opening of "Rhythm Of Her Name" introduced a very different vibe, before the slow build-up into the more electric finale. The back and forth in the different eras continued with "Across The Water", "The Black Matilda", my personal favorite "My time Again" and the energetic "Whitecaps". It is interesting to notice that, even though people were dancing left and right, there wasn't any actual pushing and moshing. Well, until "An Irish Pub Song" hit. Having sneaked into the second row and revelling in my blissful ignorance, I didn't anticipate the bodyslamming that was coming my way after the intro. Granted, not the worst I've had at a show but definitely something I wasn't prepared for. Fun times regardless. The setlist ended with "I'll Tell Me Ma" and a big round of applause.

I've been seeing The Rumjacks perform in Greece since 2018 plus a few times abroad after the pandemic, but this remains my absolute favorite show of theirs to date. As the band is preparing to head to the studio, we can only hope that next time they perform for a greek audience, the setlist will be full of new anthems.

All pictures courtesy of Dearohwell photography

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